People Like Us?

If you’re dangerously observant, you may notice that this post and the one below fall into a new Category, Anglo-American, which has always been where this site excels, and how it differs from so many others. (In other words, about half my posts could fall into this category.) Anyway…

A couple of weeks back, we had Sunday lunch with an English friend who, like me, lives up here in the hills, spends a couple of days a week in NYC, works in the music business, has an American wife and a kid at the local school. (And then, by one of the beautiful coincidences that make life worth pursuing, he was actual label manager at Pinnacle back when I was running Jamming! Records.) Though he hails from Rotherham, he’d recently read Michael Collins’ book The Likes Of Us and felt so strongly about it that he sent me off with his copy.
The Likes Of Us: A Biography Of The White Working ClassPeople Like You?

Now, as my book editor Chris C can confirm, you’re welcome to give me books to read – I have a library of music biographies that might just rival Peter Buck’s collection – but I have about 100 non-fiction books on my list to read just to research the next book I have to write. As such, I’m unlikely to get stuck into The Likes Of Us this side of the New Year. (2007.)

But given that Michael Collins is from Southwark, that his book would seem to focus largely on his own family history in South-East London, especially around the Elephant and Castle, and allowing how many iJamming! readers would probably also consider themselves working class South Londoners, then I’m wondering who might have read The Likes Of Us, and if anyone cares to discuss the book and the issues it raises. Comments section follows below if you want to respond immediately; otherwise, and unlike many a South London pub of my own youth, The iJamming! Pub is also open to all visitors, regardless of origin and roots.

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3 Comment(s)

  1. Shona

    16 December, 2005 at 10:01 pm

    I am sure Tony – that I have seen this book – but with a different cover? It is now on my list of things to buy – if I get around to reading it before you – then I will let you know my views…..


  2. Tolstoy

    18 December, 2005 at 8:44 am

    Ah! Thanks for the reference. Michael Collins made a documentary based on this recently for television but not having one I missed it and many have told me I should see it given my conerns for how the social divisions are opening up in Borough. I’ve recently received a grant to look into this very issue and in particular how the area around where I live is changing rapidly. The Tate Modern effect I call it or, the darker side of regeneration.

    If anybody this side of the pond would be interested in sharing their observations I’d like to talk to you.

    Errm… I hope I haven’t hijacked your site Tony?

  3. 18 December, 2005 at 6:19 pm


    You have not hijacked the site, particularly as you were kind enough not to put some web link on there. But you may want to do so – can you tell us a little more about your project and your past work etc…

    We’ve talked a lot about “the darker side of regeneration” at this site as it affects my former hometown of Brooklyn. I’m certainly interested in the topic as it regards South London too. Though I would start from the premise that much of South London needed rgeneration.

    It may be that this is a topic that moves to The PUb. Let’s see.


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